Heelwork to Music in the UK

Canine Freestyle GB September 2016
CANINE FREESTYLE GB Premier HTM Competition, 10 September 2016.

Thanks to Kath and co. for the invitation to judge. Very well organised and the Judges present [a framed picture of my 2 younger dogs in Switzerland] is beautiful.

Class 2, part 1, Cruft’s SemI Final Qualifier, Advanced HTM.

Co judges were Cathy Bates and Ann DeRizzio who kindly replaced Pat Parsons, relinquishing her entries in Adv. HTM.

10 competitors completed their routines, 3 trained and 8 did not compete.

1st, Helen Dennis and WSD Goddess Spring of Jucando, scoring 21.70. All positions were used but the routine was never rushed. Transitions were neat, the routine flowed and musical interpretation was effective. No messing about here - Helen steps out quickly around the ring! Just a couple of iffy bits where the dog seemed unsure.

2nd, Jeanette Fyfe and G.Retr. Garrellglen Spring Dancer, scoring 21.43. This team entered the ring in a business like manner. Some accurate heelwork in a wide range of positions and directions of movement but this keen dog did become a bit OTT at times bouncy and not always “Stuck like glue”!! However, at only 2 ½ he is doing brilliantly.

3rd, Naomi Baggaley and GSD Jacobrad Sunday Girl, scoring 20.60. Using most positions this was an enjoyable routine, with movement in most positions and a smart start and good ending. There was an effective build up with the music, spacial awareness and competent accuracy throughout.

4th, Christina Oxtaby and BC Legacy’s Eze Ezekiel, scoring 20.33. An interesting routine as always from Christina, an expressive handler. Good start and lovely ending. It was the accuracy which let this team down today – some erratic movement and unclear positioning especially across the back.

Class 2, part 2. 

12 competitors completed their routines, 4 trained and 4 did not compete.

1st, Karen Sykes and WSD Kingsfarm Spring Surprise, scoring 24.50. A wide variety of positions, different directions of movement within each and speed variation too. An interesting routine, using the music and its nuances well with full use of the space. Good positioning for best view of the dog. Mostly accurate, just a tad erratic and uncertain a couple of times.

2nd,Susan Dooney and WSD Murphy Mischief, scoring 24.23. Super flow and smooth rhythmic movement in heelwork with a smattering of FS moves to help punctuate the music which was so well interpreted. A bit out of position when sidestepping and backing at one point. Susan moved elegantly!

3rd, Carole Dodson and BC Kinaway Doctor Porter, scoring 24.03. The musical build up was used well with a range of FS moves helping interpretation. A good range of heelwork variations with good cue responses and commitment from the dog. There was some minor loss of position a couple of times but overall accurate and interesting.

4th, Jan Debnam and CB Retr. Calandrella Algoma, scoring 22.63. I always look at the start and finish which can make or break a performance and for this team they were super. A very expressive routine, lovely flow and very good interpretation of the music. Handler arm/ body signals were well integrated. Be careful with the amount of FS as it was a bit close to the mark!!

The final line up when the two parts were combined was as follows.

Karen Sykes. 2 Susan Dooney. 3 Carole Dodson, 4 Jan Debnam

And so close behind were Lesley Neville and Jackie Roberts. It was strange that the 2 half turned out to be the stronger of the two, but well done to all competitors - you entertained the spectators and judges alike with your interesting and varied performances.

Lesley Brocklehurst.

Class 5.1, Novice Heelwork. My co-judge was Emma Yardley stepping in for Pat Parsons.

1st, Carole Dodson with BC Borderdance Dream Legend from Kinaway scoring 21.50. Some really accurate heelwork holding a consistent position in 4 different positions and demonstrating movement in a variety of directions. A young dog who still needs quite a bit of help at times but very promising. Interpretation of the music and its nuances was good.

2nd, Lesley Neville and Bearded Collie Brambledale Brown Ted scoring 18.80. Another youngster using 6 positions to show flowing movement, all forward so far but with good accuracy. Happy and attentive, covering the ring space well.

3rd,Lisa Mappin and ESS Sir George of the Wood, scoring 18.55. Rhythmic flowing movement in a wide range of positions. Good interpretation and use of the ring space. Such a happy chap with good focus.

4th, Penny Draper and BC Borderdance Dream Legacy from Kinaway, scoring 17.40 Another young dog, demonstrating interesting patterns around the ring, in 4 different positions. Accuracy was the weak point today – WIP.

Class 5.2, Novice Heelwork.

1st, Susan Steele and WSD Ollie Folly Fidget, scoring 20.35. First in the ring to work. A good range of positions and speeds, mostly accurate and consistent movement. Musical interpretation was good and I liked the skipping.

2nd, Claire Steventon and BC Stillmoor Lily Breeze, scoring 19.50. A wide range of positions used mostly accurate heelwork [a few messy bits]. Some good quick but flowing position changes and several super pivots.

3rd, Lisa Mappin and FC Retr. CasblaiddValdoonican scoring 18.25. The baby of the class, possibly of the show and his first ever competition. Good attention and commitment, rhythmic trotting in 5 positions, all forward work as yet but super flow.

4th,Carole Dodson and little x breed Fame Remember My Name, scoring 17.50. A little daunted by the unfamiliar environment today – only her 2 competition, but demonstrated some close accurate heelwork, including pivots, side stepping and backing.

General comments for both Novice classes. Some good promising routines but - 1. Some of the dogs [not placed] had too many positions, way beyond their capabilities at this level of experience. 2. Links between moves and positions should flow and be simple – judges want to see the dog working in a consistent position, not struggling with too many transitions. 3. Flapping and patting hands tend to confuse rather than help. 4. If using a behind position [no. 7 or 8 ] handlers should not swivel their body round as it negates the position of the dog.

Lesley Brocklehurst.
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